Sony Is Killing The Blu-Ray, But Physical Media Isn’t Dead Yet

Sony Is Killing The Blu-Ray, But Physical Media Isn’t Dead Yet

Sony is ceasing development and production of recordable optical media, including Blu-ray discs, as it prepares to move its business toward an all-digital future. The news that Sony could be making such a move made the rounds last week, but has now been confirmed in an interview with Japanese outlet AV Watch.

Earlier reporting suggested Sony had made as many as 250 jobs redundant at its Japanese optical media plant. Sony has now confirmed those redundancies and says there is no plan to move the plant overseas.

So, before we all fly into a panic about the death of physical media, what does this actually mean? It means it’s about to become harder to find blank, recordable Blu-ray discs that those with Blu-ray burner drives can use to back up their data. Critically, for people who like buying physical movies and games, there is nothing to worry about — at least not yet. Sony says it is continuing B2B (or business-to-business) operations, meaning discs for games and movies from corporate customers will still be printed and produced until they are no longer profitable. “We will continue to sell B2B products by making them in advance,” reads Sony’s statement, “and for consumer products, we will decide on the specific end date in the future through discussions with distribution partners such as mass retailers, but we will continue to sell them for the time being.”

Still, there’s an argument to be made that Blu-ray’s loss as a recordable medium is significant. Though its total storage capacity was far lower than that of other forms of storage, like hard drives or SSDs, its shelf life was far longer than that of either competitor. Some optical discs are capable of storing data for hundreds of years, while most modern hard drives are lucky to make it to five years. Then, of course, there’s cloud storage, the modern data storage solution du jour.

We’re not at the end of the road for physical media just yet, but the world just took a big step toward a future without it. Even among its PlayStation 5 consoles, moves have been made to take the device in a digital-forward direction. The current slimline PS5 still offers a model with a disc drive, but the digital-only version is positioned as a more affordable alternative. It would not be a surprise to see a future PlayStation 6 excise the drive entirely.

Hoard those burnable Blu-ray discs while you can, I suppose.

Source: Tom’s Hardware.

Image: iStock, Sony, Kotaku Australia

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